Poker is one of those games that isn’t particularly complicated to play but is incredibly tricky to master. Anybody can learn the basic rules of the game – particularly in this digital age where rules and strategies can be found in a matter of seconds – but truly mastering the game, even to the stage where you can turn it into a viable career takes a lifetime. That’s why so many of the world’s leading pro players still invest time and resources into becoming a better player – much like eSports champions consistently do.
However, even as a beginner poker player there are a few key strategies that you can employ that will take your game to the next level.
Here are three key tips to keep in mind as you play.
Learn Poker Vocab
When you’re midway through a gripping game, the last thing you want to be worried about is confusing a double gunshot with a big slick! Poker lingo can be intimidating to the outsider since some familiar words are assigned a totally different meaning on the felt.
While it can be tricky to get the hang of it at first, the more you play and the more questions you ask, the clearer all this poker lingo will become. You can easily research any words you don’t understand online, or, better yet, just ask the players at the table. Lots of more experienced players are more than happy to help a beginner, and you could even pick up some more useful insights in the process.
Play in Ranges, not Hands
Most poker beginners get bogged down in only playing the “best” starting hands for fear of losing too much too quickly or showing their inexperience in a game. If you want to progress, however, you will need to take a different approach.
One of the most effective ways to understand which starting hands to play in a game is to use poker charts that give you an overview of hand ranges. Such charts can improve your poker game by giving you an indication of how to play before the flop. Instead of wasting energy trying to guess the exact hole cards that your opponents may hold, thinking in terms of ranges will help you quickly and efficiently identify the starting hands that could see you through and winning the game.
Understand Poker Odds
If one of your goals playing poker is to generate a profit over time, you’ll need to understand poker odds and how to use them. Knowing poker odds will help you calculate your chances of holding the winning hand and whether or not you can make profitable calls during the game. This ensures that you will make logical decisions based on the information that’s available to you, rather than letting your emotions take control.
Pot odds are the key odds in a game that will determine the ratio between the size of the total pot and the size of bets. For example, if the starting pot contains $20 and a player makes a $10 wager, the total pot is now $30 and you will need to make a $10 or more bet. The pot odds will be 30:10, but ideally, you would want them to be 30:0.
Using this ratio, you can divide both sides by 10 to get to pot odds of 3:1 (or percentages of 75%:25%). This tells you that if your opponent bets $10 (or half the starting pot), you’ll need to have the winning hand at least 25% of the time in order to make the right calls and win with a profit.
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